Tuesday, October 27, 2020

What we can learn from Sweden

It may have made mistakes, but it has escaped our disastrous cycle of lockdowns.

No country has devised a perfect response to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite its growing list of admirers, Sweden is no exception.

Its state epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, has admitted that Swedish authorities at first failed to combine their light social-distancing regime with proper safeguards against the virus in care homes. Talk of a ‘Swedish miracle’ risks overlooking such mistakes.

That said, Swedes have good reason to be proud of their government’s handling of the pandemic. As we haggle over local lockdowns and new proposals for a ‘national circuit-breaker’, Sweden continues its outlier policy of permitting most Swedes to get on with their lives.

For one thing, Swedes should be grateful to live under leaders who speak candidly about their own policy failures. Public Health England presided over its own care-homes catastrophe, advising hospitals to discharge elderly patients into care homes without testing them beforehand. This was official PHE guidance to hospitals until as late as 15 April, leading to a devastating outbreak in care homes that, far from being eased by lockdown, actually wrought most damage after the lockdown was introduced. The self-criticism of Anders Tegnell’s team stands in stark contrast with the relative silence of our ministers on the Covid blitzkrieg in the UK’s care homes.

Anyhow, the Swedes would be the first to admit they do not emerge from this crisis as the world’s public-health superpower. Still, they comfortably avoided the doom-laden prophecies of Professor Neil Ferguson, whose Imperial College model, when applied to Sweden by researchers at Uppsala University, predicted a punishing 85,000 deaths as a result of its non-lockdown policy. So far, Sweden has had just under 6,000 deaths. This is despite Ferguson’s insistence, a full week after Sweden’s daily deaths actually peaked, that fatalities would continue to ‘increase day by day’.

Critics of Sweden point out that it still trails neighbours like Norway and Finland in terms of Covid deaths per million. However, we should not be lured into thinking that Sweden sacrificed lives while its Scandinavian neighbours saved them with prudent, humane lockdown measures. Peru and Belgium, both of which top the coronavirus death charts, also imposed some of the most stringent lockdowns in the world.

The significance of government policy is the natural starting point of journalists and politicians in Whitehall. But a global perspective forces us to reconsider the importance of state interventions in favour of more enlightening factors, like each country’s age profile, underlying state of health and population density. This is consistent with research conducted by Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government back in May. Following the peak of the first wave in Europe, it found no correlation between the stringency of government measures and deaths from the virus.

In the case of Sweden, biochemical engineer Ivor Cummins has highlighted its lower than typical mortality rate throughout 2019 compared to its neighbours. Otherwise an undoubted blessing, this presented a problem as soon as the pandemic struck in 2020. It meant Sweden was home to a larger proportion of seriously frail elderly citizens than Norway and Finland, which, experiencing higher rates of mortality among the vulnerable in 2019, had fewer to lose through Covid.

This goes some way to explaining why Sweden trails its neighbours. However, it cannot completely absolve the Swedish approach. In a perfect world, the Swedes would have recognised their duty to the untypically large number of elderly citizens who survived 2019 and ensured they also made it through the plague year of 2020 – either by focusing their resources around care homes or emulating the highly sophisticated, Asian-style ‘track and trace’ regimes. Admirers of the Swedish approach will say that we do not live in a perfect world. But then they should stop lauding Sweden as a model of unparalleled excellence.

Indeed, Sweden is not only paralleled – it has also been decisively outperformed by numerous countries on the measure of Covid-19 deaths. However, that does not change the fact that Sweden has outperformed Britain. Most importantly, it has set a unique if imperfect example that poses serious questions – questions that politicians appear to be in no mood to answer as they rush hastily towards a panicked choice between either localised or national shutdowns.

Sweden has suffered 584 Coronavirus deaths per million, compared to Britain’s 633, Spain’s 710 and Belgium’s 884. It also managed this relatively low death rate without destroying the economic and social lives of its citizens through despotic lockdowns, as all these other countries did.

Today, Sweden does not live in perpetual fear of a second national shutdown, because its leaders never opted for a first. Swedes may even have reached an ‘endemic equilibrium’ – the point at which a disease ceases to spread through a population exponentially and simply becomes one of the many background risks to which individuals adapt. Belgium, Spain and the UK, on the other hand, after lifting their enforced lockdowns, have subsequently seen a sharp rise in cases since late July (though increased testing played a role here), along with a slower but visible rise in deaths.

Meanwhile, Sweden’s infection rate is stable and its seven-day rolling death average has not climbed higher than three since late August. So while we ponder another lockdown, ostensibly to kill the endless cycle of restrictions and re-openings, Sweden gives every impression of having foreclosed that same vicious cycle by avoiding lockdown in the first place.

Moreover, the ‘circuit breaker’ shutdown, recommended by SAGE and now by Labour leader Keir Starmer, has no discernible benefit in the immediate or long-term. Even the March Imperial College paper, which frightened us into lockdown, made clear that suppression alone cannot stop pandemics. It merely pushes cases and any resulting deaths into the future.

Sneering know-it-alls like to respond that medical professionals are supposed to postpone deaths, and that there is therefore a public-health imperative to impose another national lockdown to postpone as many as we can. Guardian columnist George Monbiot smugly tweeted: ‘Hands up everyone who doesn’t want their death postponed… Thought not.’

But lockdowns do not ‘postpone’ deaths in the same way that, say, life-saving cancer treatments do, by extending a patient’s life in years and even decades. Lockdowns merely postpone deaths for as long as they are in force – which, under Starmer’s proposal, would apparently be just two to three weeks – while also imposing significant costs. Unless policymakers can point to a game-changing treatment or vaccine that will be made available within that time frame, they have an extremely weak case for wrecking yet more jobs and livelihoods and suspending our everyday freedoms.

Even assuming a longer lockdown, using the criminal law to destroy personal freedoms is despotic and cannot go on forever. Responsible adults can decide for themselves if they wish to ‘postpone’ their risk of death in a state of self-isolated misery, as some petty tyrants would have them do by force of law. Even vulnerable groups of people should be free to socialise and work as they deem appropriate, unmolested by health secretary Matt Hancock’s poisonous network of Covid marshals and informants. Individuals can make these judgements according to their own varied circumstances – something that no top-down legal dictate can fully assess.

In reality, Britain faces a choice between a Taiwanese ‘Whack-a-Mole’ strategy and a Swedish-style herd-immunity approach, combined with a well-funded ‘focused protection’ strategy for vulnerable people.

The prospect of the first option seems bleak: the government has already spent £12 billion attempting to create a Taiwanese-style track-and-trace system, only without Taiwan’s success. No matter how sophisticated the system, it makes little difference if we continue to have extremely low rates of compliance with quarantine orders. Forcing vast numbers of people to isolate for their own good on the suspicion that they may be infected might work okay elsewhere. But governments need to work with the citizens they have, rather than with the citizens they wish they had.

The truth is that loss of life from Covid is vanishingly unlikely for most people. Support should be made available to those with serious physical vulnerabilities who can isolate themselves voluntarily. The rest of us should then be left to get on with our lives and with the task of rebuilding our broken economy. Sweden may not be flawless. But it is important to learn from Sweden’s stability and its avoidance of a Fergusonian plague.

There are many measures that countries can take to shield the eldery – policies that both Sweden and Britain, along with others, failed to implement properly in the spring. But unlike national or even local shutdowns, this approach is proportionate to the threat and consistent with liberty, leaving us with a choice that did not exist when the virus was new and rightly engendered caution.

Do we want this pandemic to change us into a permanently wretched and fearful nation? Or are we ready to return, albeit cautiously, to the free and happy conditions under which we once prospered?


An Agenda Worth Voting For

While the Biden team studiously avoids talking about their real agenda, President Trump has made it abundantly clear what he intends to get done in the next four years. You don’t have to like his tweets or prickly persona. His accomplishments are reason enough to earn your vote. His plans for the future should convince all real Americans to storm the polls for this guy!

Consider his agenda for the next four years that will build upon the amazing accomplishments in his first term. All achieved in spite of entrenched forces that have fought him every step of the way.

On jobs and the economy, he expects 10 million new jobs in the next ten months and to see one million small businesses reopen or be created. He wants to lower taxes on working Americans. He really believes we can spend and invest that money smarter than Washington can on our behalf. Reducing taxes and regulations while insuring abundant, affordable energy actually works. He’s proven that.

He will battle the globalists, pressing for additional trade deals, leveling the playing field for Americans. He will nix the notion that Big Tech oligarchs can abuse the H1B Visa by replacing Americans with lower-paid imported labor. President Trump will enlarge Opportunity Zones, creating jobs and expanding horizons for minorities in our inner cities.

We should expect a major infrastructure effort to rebuild our bridges, roads and waterways. Upgrading our pipeline network alone will create thousands of good paying jobs.

President Trump will continue to press China and the multinationals who have sold us out. He will offer tax credits to return 1 million manufacturing jobs from China. Companies that offshore jobs will be banned from federal contracts. We will win the race to build out 5G networks without depending on Chinese equipment.

Critical industries like pharmaceuticals and electronics will get tax incentives for coming home.

Unlike China Joe, President Trump understands that nations that export raw materials and import finished goods aren’t really countries. They are colonies.

He will continue to hold China fully responsible for unleashing this terrible virus. We deserve to know why international experts were not allowed to investigate how this all got started in Wuhan.

His Operation Warp Speed is yielding amazing results. The president expects vaccines to be approved before the end of the year. He is putting in place a plan that will allow every American to be vaccinated early next year. Our long dark lockdown will end. Imagine what a return to normal will do for our economy.

Notwithstanding Democrat demagoguery, President Trump will press for market-based healthcare reform that protects the poor, the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. He will attack spiraling healthcare costs with a special focus on regulations and runaway prescription drug prices. Starting with Medicare and Medicaid, drug prices will be referenced to prices charged in other industrialized nations. This alone will save us over $50 billion a year.

The president has made clear that he will continue to protect Social Security and Medicare. He will demand that the VA provide the world-class care that our veterans deserve.

On the international front, President Trump expects more Middle Eastern nations to join the movement toward a lasting peace. His efforts to end endless wars and bring our forces home will continue. Allies in Europe will be required to shoulder their share of defense costs. America First will make the world safer.

Our military is midway through a complete rebuild. The Space Force will be fully established. Amazing technology and a modernized military will keep our adversaries’ expansionist aspirations at bay.

With or without Congressional help, the building of the wall will continue. The flood of illegals and drugs will dry up. Legal immigrants will be required to prove that they will not become “wards of the state.” The president will end free benefits for those who broke our immigration laws. Criminals and gang members will be tracked down and deported. Does anyone seriously think any of this would happen in a Biden Administration?

Poor kids who desperately need access to a good education will see a dramatic expansion of school choice options. The anti-American cultural curriculums will be replaced with a return to American exceptionalism.

President Trump will appoint judges that abide by the Constitution and mete out justice impartially. Donald Trump will make our streets safe again. He will not defund our police. He will support them. Violent anarchists like ANTIFA will be treated as terrorists. He will defend the 2nd Amendment, allowing us to defend ourselves. Perhaps just as importantly, this president will insist that bad cops, including conspirators at the highest levels of our FBI and the CIA, be held fully accountable. We will finally learn the origins of Operation Crossfire Hurricane.

The choice is crystal clear. Only one candidate offers an agenda worth voting for.

Storm the polls!


My other blogs: Main ones below

http://snorphty.blogspot.com (TONGUE-TIED)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://awesternheart.blogspot.com.au/ (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)


Monday, October 26, 2020

If Trump loses, Trumpism will live on

Some excerpts below from a Leftist hate screed. In their own way they recognize that Trump has revived basic conservatism

He has lost some voters in the course of four years. He won 46 per cent of the popular vote in 2016 and today has about 43 per cent on the average of the polls.

But he is still President unimpeached. He is still supported overwhelmingly by the Republican Party. And he is still a real chance of winning re-election, with the betting markets giving him about a 40 per cent chance of victory. Another way of expressing this probability is that if the election were held under the same circumstances 100 times, Trump would win 40 times. In spite of everything.

"They say I have the most loyal people – did you ever see that?" He said that four years ago, and it remains true.

"That's the thing that's most distressing," Francis Fukuyama tells me. "He still has the support of more than 40 per cent of American voters and they love him – they love the fact that he's wrecking the US government," says the world's most famous political scientist.

Or, as the election analyst Charlie Cook of The Cook Political Report puts it, "Voting for Trump is a cultural statement." It's not subject to events.

The pandemic has exposed the limits of Trump's nonsense populism. Fukuyama says Trump would be easily re-elected if not for the plague. But it also has revealed the power and persistence of his appeal.

Even if Trump loses, it's "scary because Trumpism survives Trump," says Fukuyama. The movement lives on even if he's voted out at the November 3 election.

"The core of Trump's support is still going to be there. He will be encouraging them. A lot of Republicans [in Congress] have thrown their lot in with him." He would become ex-officio leader of the opposition.


Oxford coronavirus vaccine 'works perfectly' and builds strong immunity to virus, researchers find

But only in the lab so far

The Covid-19 vaccine developed at Oxford University works perfectly and builds strong immunity to the virus, a study shows.

Great hopes rest on the vaccine, which is a global frontrunner and has been shown to safely trigger an immune response in volunteers given it in early trials.

But, unlike traditional vaccines which use a weakened virus, or small amounts of it, the innovative Oxford jab causes the body to make part of the virus itself.

Now researchers led by the University of Bristol have found this daring technology works for the coronavirus, just as it has for similar viruses in the past.

A study using cells in the laboratory found the vaccine effectively delivers the instructions for the Covid protein, which cells copy thousands of times to produce it in large amounts.

This means a person's immune system is then primed to recognise the disease and fight it off without them falling ill.

Dr David Matthews, from Bristol's School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (CMM), who led the research, said: 'Until now, the technology hasn't been able to provide answers with such clarity, but we now know the vaccine is doing everything we expected and that is only good news in our fight against the illness.'

While the world waits for the results of trials on whether the Oxford vaccine actually works, the new findings are the next step forward.


What the lockdown lobby gets wrong

There has been uproar over the past week or so over the Great Barrington Declaration, an initiative that puts the case for an alternative and less destructive approach to dealing with Covid-19 than the current cycle of lockdowns. In response, a group of academics, medics and policy wonks has put forward a response – the John Snow Memorandum. Though the memorandum claims the veneer of scientific authority, the arguments are dubious.

The memorandum begins with some relatively uncontroversial statements. ‘SARS-CoV-2 spreads through contact (via larger droplets and aerosols) and longer-range transmission via aerosols, especially in conditions where ventilation is poor. Its high infectivity, combined with the susceptibility of unexposed populations to a new virus, creates conditions for rapid community spread.’ Certainly, this is a serious and nasty disease that kills a significantly higher proportion of those infected than seasonal influenza. Unpleasant, even debilitating symptoms can continue for months after, even among the young and relatively healthy.

The authors argue that it is ‘unclear’ how long post-infection immunity lasts for and that there appear to be cases of reinfection, as with other coronaviruses. They say the spread of the virus is slowed down by measures of social distancing, face coverings, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, plus good hand and respiratory hygiene.

Ongoing debates about masks aside (I think they may be useful where distancing is difficult or for people with symptoms, as the World Health Organisation suggests), there would be few disagreements so far from those who want to take a different approach.

But one clear difference would be over the assumption that lockdowns were ‘essential to reduce mortality, prevent healthcare services from being overwhelmed and buy time to set up pandemic-response systems to suppress transmission following lockdown’.

We seem now to be at a point with cases rising again where we need to make policy choices that could have hugely damaging impacts if we get it wrong. One, suggested in the original Imperial College modelling report back in March, led by Professor Neil Ferguson, would be to have a cycle of lockdown and release to keep a lid on case numbers and to protect healthcare.

The authors of the John Snow Memorandum clearly believe that this cycle may not be necessary:

‘Continuing restrictions will probably be required in the short term to reduce transmission and fix ineffective pandemic-response systems in order to prevent future lockdowns. The purpose of these restrictions is to effectively suppress SARS-CoV-2 infections to low levels that allow rapid detection of localised outbreaks and rapid response through efficient and comprehensive find, test, trace, isolate and support systems so life can return to near-normal without the need for generalised restrictions.’

This all sounds very reasonable, apart from the fact that in many countries (including the UK), attempts to implement test, trace and isolate (TTI) systems have been a failure, despite enormous investment. Suggesting that continued generalised restrictions, or one more ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown, could buy enough time to fix the problems with TTI seems very optimistic. Realistically, we will likely end up going back into lockdown and kicking the can down the road in the hope of a vaccine arriving sooner rather than later.

The alternative, epitomised in the Great Barrington Declaration, but a view that is by no means exclusive to its promoters, is to protect the most vulnerable members of society while allowing the virus to spread. There seems to be a fairly strong correlation between advancing age and the risk of severe illness. Children seem to get serious illness very rarely while the vast majority of deaths are in older people, with risks rising for every additional year of life.

By isolating only those sections of the population at greatest risk, the damage from Covid-19 could be greatly reduced even while allowing the majority of society to return to something like normality. At some point, when most of the less-vulnerable population has been infected, the spread of the virus will decline to a trickle. This is how epidemics throughout history have ended, even if infections continue at a much lower rate as populations change.

But the memorandum authors simply dismiss the idea. ‘Proponents suggest this would lead to the development of infection-acquired population immunity in the low-risk population, which will eventually protect the vulnerable. This is a dangerous fallacy unsupported by scientific evidence.’ This is a bizarre claim. This is exactly the approach suggested by the government’s scientific advisers until mid-March, when lockdown fever took over.

Their first argument is that there would be ‘widespread’ morbidity and mortality among younger people. These risks are real, but the memorandum exaggerates them. The vast majority of younger people suffer at most a mild illness.

As of 14 October, the UK government coronavirus dashboard states that 153,163 people have been hospitalised with Covid-19 – or 0.23 per cent of the population. One study examining the period up to 18 April, based on figures from 166 UK hospitals, suggested that the median age of hospital admission was 72. Of the 16,749 patients covered, over half had an existing comorbidity. The median age of death was 80. If we can protect both older people and those with existing chronic illness, the risks to the rest of the population are relatively small.

Another argument put forward in the memorandum is that ‘there is no evidence for lasting protective immunity to SARS-CoV-2 following natural infection, and the endemic transmission that would be the consequence of waning immunity would present a risk to vulnerable populations for the indefinite future’.

This is just silly. Naturally acquired immunity has always been the way that epidemics have ended. The idea of turning around a vaccine in just a year or so, on the other hand, is entirely new. Achieving durable herd immunity will probably require a vaccine, but we need to act now and we don’t have a vaccine that has been proven to be safe and effective as yet. Indeed, continuing to impose harsh restrictions only adds to the pressure to rush out a vaccine without going through the necessary trials.

Indeed, naturally acquired immunity could result in a lower herd-immunity threshold than could be achieved through a vaccine. The most connected people are also the ones most likely to get the disease earliest. They are the ones most likely to pass it on to a higher-than-average group of contacts. When these people achieve immunity, they break more potential chains of transmission than others who have fewer contacts. A vaccine programme, on the other hand, would (rightly) prioritise the most vulnerable people, with less impact on transmission. As for people being reinfected, this still seems to be very unusual. It is hardly cause to reject a herd-immunity approach.

The third argument in the memorandum is about practicalities and ethics:

‘Prolonged isolation of large swathes of the population is practically impossible and highly unethical. Empirical evidence from many countries shows that it is not feasible to restrict uncontrolled outbreaks to particular sections of society. Such an approach also risks further exacerbating the socioeconomic inequities and structural discriminations already laid bare by the pandemic. Special efforts to protect the most vulnerable are essential but must go hand-in-hand with multi-pronged population-level strategies.’

Threatening vulnerable people who do not abide by isolation rules would clearly be unethical. But that is exactly what ‘population-level’ strategies are doing to everyone. So narrowing those measures to specific sections of society would seem to be better.

Nonetheless, compulsion must be avoided. We must allow everyone to decide for themselves what measure of risk they are willing to accept, with ample support and advice for vulnerable groups to enable them to avoid social contact if they choose to do so. The memorandum authors are right to point out that there are practical difficulties. They are wrong to dismiss the possibility. We need to apply thought and resources to the issue, not simply wave it away.

In any event, how is it ethical to cause businesses to close, students to be imprisoned in halls of residence, free movement to be restricted and basic rights like free association and the freedom to protest to be junked? The authors’ understanding of ethics is very one-sided.

What about the ethics of the smear operation in progress against those who are putting forward a herd-immunity strategy? The fact that the Great Barrington Declaration was coordinated by an American libertarian think tank has been used to dismiss it with feeble ‘who funds you?’ arguments, claiming it is simply a callous attempt to put profit before lives. If we are to make progress, the first step must be a more sophisticated level of debate, conducted in good faith.

John Snow, whose early epidemiological work pointed to the true means by which cholera was spreading in Victorian London, contradicting the scientific consensus of his time, would surely have been appalled at this approach to scientific debate. The authors of the John Snow Memorandum are taking his name in vain.


My other blogs: Main ones below

http://snorphty.blogspot.com (TONGUE-TIED)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://awesternheart.blogspot.com.au/ (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)


Sunday, October 25, 2020

Alan Jones: COVID causes a global crisis of freedom

Comment from Australia: Sky News host Alan Jones says COVID-19 is not, and has never been, a pandemic:

I am forever an optimist. But there is certainly a crisis in this country and, indeed, in the Western world. It’s a crisis of trust, because we also face an economic crisis, a mental crisis, an unemployment crisis, business viability crisis, an aviation crisis, a crisis in the arts industry — the list is endless, all a derivative of strategies addressing a virus which are utterly out of all proportion to the nature of the problem.

As a result, we learn this week that Millennials in democracies throughout the world are more disillusioned with their system of government than any young generation in living memory. This is a survey of nearly five million people.

Roberto Foa, the study’s lead ­author from the Centre for the Future of Democracy at Cambridge Uni­versity, was quoted as saying: “This is the first generation in living memory to have a global majority who are ­dissatisfied with the way democracy works …”

David Kemp is a former federal Liberal MP, a colleague of mine in a Prime Ministerial office, and one of the most formidable defenders of liberal traditions. He wrote recently: “The corrupting effect of political power and self-interest has so clearly outed itself. The pandemic has highlighted some simple and sometimes harsh truths about ourselves, our leaders and our democracy … The most important truth is that, as individuals, we suffer, and some of us die, not from the virus, but from the lack of freedom to express and achieve our values and pursue our dreams.”

Rightly, argues David Kemp: “These disturbing occurrences underline how vital our civil liberties, democratic processes and constitutional constraints are to our wellbeing as a people and a nation.”

Well may we ask if we will ever get them back. Section 92 of the Constitution guarantees that intercourse among States should be “absolutely free”. No section of our Constitution was more rigorously debated leading up to Federation in 1901 than Section 92. Our Federal government refuses to go to the High Court to defend our Constitution. If our national government won’t, who will?

The “science” is thrown back at us to justify what is nothing more than totalitarian behaviour.

John Tierney, in City Journal, a publication of the Manhattan Institute of Policy Research, which is a leading free-market think tank, wrote recently of lockdowns and of Anthony Fauci, the White House adviser, whom Donald Trump has roundly criticised: “He and politicians like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, profess to be following the science. But no ethical scientist would conduct such a risky experiment without carefully considering the dangers and monitoring the results …”

When a politician says that this is all because of “the science”, why you can only have 10 here and 20 there and 300 there, and you can’t stand, you can only sit and you can’t sing, and you can’t shake hands — never has a single piece of paper been presented that provides an epidemiological justification for what we are being told to do.

Yet, the World Bank estimates that the coronavirus recession could push 60 million people into extreme poverty, which inevitably means more disease and death.

President Trump argued this week: “People are tired of COVID. I have the biggest rallies I have ever seen ... ­people are saying “whatever, just leave us alone.”

As Henry Ergas wrote, clinically this month: “Every new case leads the evening news, reinforcing its image as the Grim Reaper. One might have hoped that the experts would set the picture straight.” Well, despite my protestations, no politician in this country has ever, and I repeat ever, quoted the World Health Org­anisation’s daily statistics — 99 per cent of cases are mild, 1 per cent serious or critical.

Indeed, as I write, in the whole of Australia, there are 17 people in hospital. But lockdowns persist. Everywhere. Not just Victoria.

No debate, no justification. Just do as you’re told or cop the consequences. Seriously, what country are we living in? Politicians should hang their arrogant heads in shame.

Mind Medicine Australia has put together a report, documenting the consequences of the response to this virus. And, among other things, it ­argues that, over the next five years, the additional cost to the Australian economy from those suffering from heightened psychological distress who remain employed, but at reduced productivity, is estimated at $114 billion; that modelling from the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre suggests the COVID-19 pandemic will contribute to a major surge, 25 per cent in suicides with an increase of up to 30 per cent among young people aged 15 to 25.

The greatest metaphor of the alarmism, fear and hysteria that has overtaken our country and, indeed the world, is the use of the word “pandemic”. This is not a pandemic. It was never a pandemic.

It doesn’t matter which country you take — the US, with 328 million ­people, Sweden with 10 million people, or outfits like Italy, France, the UK, Spain and Australia in between — the statistics of people who are said to have died from coronavirus, (and remember, many of these people may have died with it not from it) nonetheless, the percentage of the population who have died is basically the same in all of these countries is 0.07 per cent.

Australia is an island continent with 25 million people. If we had not had Ruby Princess and international travellers, we could have easily ­escaped the whole show. But even so, deaths are 0.0035 per cent and look at the price we are now paying.

I have, for months, cited one international authority after another, who has argued the strategy is wrong.

Professor Joe Kettner, from Manitoba University, who said: “I have seen pandemics, one every year. It’s called influenza and other respiratory illness viruses. I have never seen this reaction and I’m trying to under­stand why.”

Professor John Ioannidis, the Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health at Stanford University (and think of those mortality figures I have cited) has said: “If we had not known about a new virus out there and had not checked individuals with PCR tests, the number of total deaths due to “influenza-like illness” would not seem unusual this year.

“At most, we might have casually noted that flu this season seems to be a bit worse than average. The media coverage would have been less than for an NBA game between the two most indifferent teams.”

We are in a social, economic and moral sewer, because we have failed to listen to world authorities.

A fed-up and disillusioned Australia is cheering when Professor Kemp ­argues: “The authoritarianism of those whose philosophies are based on ­centralised power and imposed conformity has been unmistakeable … it’s time for the Prime Minister to recognise … that giving priority to his relations with those who abuse their power and disrespect their citizens is not consistent with the strong lead that the ­nation needs.”

Our collective plea is, get out of our way, leave us alone and give our country and our freedoms back to us.


The great Joe Biden cover-up as election heats up

No one is disputing the authenticity of the emails detailing potential corruption by the Biden family in China and Ukraine, but the press is doing their best to cover for Joe

As if the US election could get any more bizarre, now Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop is being ­accused of being an agent of Russian disinformation.

To sum up, last week the New York Post published a story about incriminating emails found on a MacBook of the troubled 46-year-old son of presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter.

In the 20,000 emails, documents and photos on the laptop is new evidence that Biden’s family has been monetising his name from shady companies overseas, and that Joe participated in the cash-for-influence scheme when he was vice president.

Coming two weeks before the election, the Post’s stories demand ­answers, because Joe has spent years denying he knows anything about his son’s business dealings overseas.

You would think he would have called a press conference the day the bombshell appeared, either to declare his innocence or apologise for misleading the American people.

It wasn’t until Friday night at ­Detroit airport, that Joe briefly stopped for questions and CBS ­reporter Bo Erickson asked about the damning emails on Hunter’s laptop, which was left at a Mac repair shop in Delaware last April.

“I have no response,” snapped Joe. “Another smear campaign. Right up your alley.” A video of Joe’s vituperative ­remarks on Erickson’s Twitter ­account has been viewed more than six million times.

Joe has done his best to dodge ­reporters ever since. Yesterday he called a “lid” on his campaign for four days. That means no public appearances.

It’s extraordinary for a presidential campaign, especially when President Donald Trump has sprung back from COVID-19 and is crisscrossing the country doing speeches and rallies. The past two days he has been to Las Vegas, Nevada, Newport Beach, California, Carson City, Nevada, Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.

He plans to continue the frenetic activity up to November 3 while Joe seems to believe he can coast to the finish line without being accountable to the voters. He figures he can get away with it because the rest of the media will run cover for him. And he’s right.

He ventured out to get ice cream on Sunday and the big question was: “What flavour did you get?”

Neither Joe nor Hunter has disputed that the abandoned MacBook belongs to Hunter. Nor have they denied that the documents and photos we have published are genuine.

The signature on the work order authorising the repair shop to fix the laptop matches Hunter’s signature on court papers in a paternity suit.

Fox News has verified the provenance of at least one message with a third party included in the email chain.

The computer repair man, John Paul Isaac, has told Giuliani’s lawyer Bob Costello that Hunter’s lawyer, George Mesires, phoned him last Tuesday night, hours before the Post went to print, and asked for the return of his client’s laptop and hard drive.

I have seen Mesires’ follow up email to Isaac at 7.28pm confirming his identity.

In summary, the Post has published emails showing Hunter charged $10 million for “introductions alone” to a Chinese businessman while his dad was VP and that he reserved a 10 per cent stake in ­another lucrative Chinese deal for “the Big Guy”.

Fox News since has confirmed with a recipient of one of the emails that “the Big Guy” refers to Joe.

In Ukraine, an email shows Hunter arranged a meeting in 2015 ­between his VP father and Vadym Pozharskyi, one of his senior colleagues at the corrupt Ukrainian ­energy company Burisma, which was paying the chronic drug addict up to $83,000 a month.

A separate email, dated November 2, 2015, from Pozharskyi to Hunter, outlines what is required of him: to ­organise powerful US policymakers to pressure the Ukrainian government to “close down for [sic] any cases/pursuits” against Burisma.

That’s bad enough. But there is also evidence American foreign policy was distorted as a result.

In China, Joe went easy on President Xi’s aggressive militarisation of islands in the South China Sea.

In Ukraine, he threatened to withhold $1 billion aid in December 2015 unless the government fired Viktor Shokin, the top prosecutor investigating Burisma for corruption.

By February Shokin was gone. Smells like a quid pro quo.

But the Democratic party and Biden’s allies in the left-wing media are running protection for Joe. Hours after the Post story ­appeared, Facebook throttled its distribution pending “fact-checking”.

For the past six days Twitter has locked the @nypost account because it decided our story was based on “hacked” material. It’s not. Hunter abandoned his laptop and after 90 days, per the form he signed, the ­computer became the property of the repair shop.

Now the old Russiagate playbook deployed against Trump is being re-run against the Post’s evidence-based news stories by the same shady ­characters.

House chairman Adam Schiff ­declared on Monday that the stories were a smear “from the Kremlin”.

Last night 50 of the same former spooks who pushed Russiagate signed a letter saying they suspect a Russian disinformation campaign, although they admit they “do not have ­evidence of Russian involvement [and] don’t know if the emails, provided to the New York Post by President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, are genuine or not”.

In other words, it’s a pathological fantasy.

Meanwhile, new material has emerged which bolsters our stories.

A business partner of Hunter’s named Bevan Cooney — in jail for fraud — has turned over 20,000 emails to Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer at Breitbart. One email published yesterday indicates a delegation of Chinese Communist Party officials secured a private, off-the-books meeting with then-VP Biden.

Trump is not letting the scandal go to waste, telling reporters yesterday: “Joe Biden is, and always has been, a corrupt politician. You know that, and a lot of people knew it for a long time. But now you have the laptop, it’s all over.”

We’ll see at the last presidential debate on Thursday night if Trump has any luck putting Joe on the spot, or if the former VP manages to play for sympathy for his wayward son.


My other blogs: Main ones below

http://snorphty.blogspot.com (TONGUE-TIED)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://awesternheart.blogspot.com.au/ (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)


Friday, October 23, 2020

Fabulous news

Jordan Peterson is back! Looking and sounding good.

There has been a great outpouring on love for him online which I am delighted to join


Conservatism Now Means Defeating the Establishment

Look around you at the smoldering ruins of American society, and it’s clear that you owe our garbage Establishment nothing.

Not loyalty.

Not respect.

Not obedience.


It has failed you. And now it is dead to you.

Tear it all down.

Rip out its rotten foundations.

Burn the poisonous debris.

Rebuild it on a foundation of the Constitution.

There was once a social contract out there that we all thought we all signed on to. You know the outlines of the implicit deal. We agreed to give up certain prerogatives and to provide prestige and prosperity to those people – who became the Establishment – who would run our institutions for us. For example, we outsourced our right to avenge ourselves to the justice system and (except for immediate self-defense) to keep order to the police. We would respect and trust the objective, neutral truthtellers, called “journalists,” who would gather and disseminate the news and information we needed to be active citizens. And, in a formal way under our Constitution, we agreed to give government officials enumerated powers and to be bound by the rules implemented via due process and limited by the Bill of Rights.

It was imperfect, as all human endeavors are, but on the whole it worked.

Until now.

Our institutions are old. Most date from just after World War II, or even further back. How about the example of academia? For the most part, in terms of practice, the only major difference between the typical college class today and one a century ago is that the person lecturing the hungover sophomores knows which bathroom to use. What is different is that it doesn’t work anymore – those mush-minded teens are not learning the info they need to be citizens, both because what they are being fed is rancid propaganda and because there are no standards anymore. Oh, and it costs more than the average American makes in a year to get young Kaden or Ashleigh that Collectivist Pottery bachelor’s degree.

And because the institutions are old, the geniuses and innovators who founded those institutions are long dead. Our institutions are run by people who didn’t build them. They inherited them, and like the vast majority of heirs, they are screw-ups. Take a look at the Kennedys if you’re unclear on how generations devolve over time. JFK captained PT 109, became president, and scored with Marilyn Monroe. This generation of Kennedys mostly scores dope. As Instapundit Glenn Reynolds says, we have the worst ruling class in American history.

Moreover, technology is disrupting the comfy university scam. I like to take long walks and listen to Audible. I like Roman history – which is super relevant right now and which has very much influenced my upcoming novel in the People's Republic series – and for about $14 I can listen to entire graduate-level courses on the subject by very best professors in the world. Who needs Harvard – except insecure people who can’t not let drop that they went to Harvard within 30 seconds of meeting you?

Other institutions have also been disrupted by technology. Newspapers still call themselves “newspapers,” but technology has eliminated the “papers” part, while their gross political partisanship has eliminated the “news” part. Hollywood used to be modeled on a few thousand big rooms showing moving, talking pictures, but technology has changed that to a few million small rooms showing moving, talking pictures. While the ability to make content has increased exponentially as the price of production has dropped, Hollywood still tries to maintain control by centralizing distribution via Netflix, Hulu and so on. This is true across the spectrum of institutions. They are trying to maintain the status quo despite their institutional obsolescence because the status quo means control. The institutions’ focus is no longer on doing the jobs those institutions were supposed to do. It is on preserving the institutions in their current, corrupt and inept form, and thereby the power of the corrupt, inept elite that runs those institutions.

What’s this mean? It means that we cannot count on the institutions to do their job – that is, to do those things we need them to do – because their real job is now perpetuating their operators’ grift.

Take the FBI, please – take it to wherever J. Edgar Hoover is buried, and even he’d be freaked out and spinning in his grave and getting all tangle in his burial gown. The FBI used to be the the gold standard, the crème de la crème of law enforcement. And, instead of being Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., rounding up mobsters, bank robbers, and commies, it’s a bunch of fugly geeks awkwardly boinking each other when they aren’t trying to frame the president. The FBI got the Hunter Biden computer about a year ago, a computer full of emails about the Democrat nominee’s crack-curious son’s adventures in influence peddling with Ukrainian robber barons and the Chi-Coms, and if some computer repair guy in New Jersey hadn’t thought to keep a copy of the contents the FBI would have deep-sixed the hard drive just like it did Weiner’s laptop in service of their Establishment masters. In fact, leakers are leaking that it’s the RUSSIANS at it again in order to actively and willfully cover up the biggest corruption story in American history. But hey, rest easy knowing the Eff Bee Eye is all over any garage door pull knots that freak out losing race car drivers.

Law enforcement is supposed to protect us by enforcing the law. Now it lets off rioters but will go gangbusters on you should you defend your family from leftist savages. We have seen that there are always cops who will choose their pension over their duty and bust your church or synagogue for illegal praying. The elite needs minions to do its dirty work and shamefully some doughnut-gobblers have proven themselves only too eager to obey. And even if you do manage to demonstrate that your prosecution is so corrupt that even our garbage DOJ wants to dismiss it, an Establishment judge won’t let you and an appeals court won’t make him even though the law says they must.

You cannot avail yourself of the law. The Establishment, which is supposed to uphold it, ignores it when it limits them and abuses it to restrict you. That seems problematic in the long term.

And then there's the media – well, we knew it was trash, but the last week has even boggled the minds of the most cynical critics. A few weeks ago, there was a collective spasm over the “losers and suckers” claims by four anonymous sources that were refuted by 25 on-the-record sources. This week, there was hard evidence of Biden business badness and the mainstream media swung into action to actively deny and excuse the evidence. The biggest corruption story of all time – a vice president running an influence peddling ring for foreigners – and the media’s response is to tell us there’s nothing to see. And then, when the tech fascists decided to suppress the news, the media actively supported this censorship.

The Establishment has failed. It failed to meet its most basic obligations. What’s this mean?

That means you’re free.

You owe it nothing, not respect, deference, or obedience.

So don’t give it any of these.

See, the Establishment succeeds in spite of its manifest incompetence and greed because of inertia. It perpetuates because we go along with it as if everything is normal. It counts on us thinking what we are witnessing are merely the occasional blips and problems inherent in any human endeavor instead of the systemic failure that it demonstrates. This rot is real and dramatic and, untreated, will be fatal to our country. Remember the Romans? You start changing the rules and sooner or later instead of a Republic you have an emperor who marries his horse.

Conservatism is no longer about conserving; it’s about ripping apart the whole corrupt system and overthrowing the garbage Establishment.


America Is Drowning in the Lies of the Left

There are conservatives who lie, and there are liberals who lie, but both conservatism and liberalism hold truth to be a supreme value.

This is not true for leftism. Truth is simply not a left-wing value.

Lying is to the left what breathing is to biological life. That is why the father of modern leftism, Vladimir Lenin, named the Soviet communist newspaper “Pravda,” the Russian word for “truth.” Truth is what a leftist says it is. It is not an objective reality.

The left has always relied on lies to gain and retain power. This is as true today in the United States as it was in the Soviet Union.

Here are examples of lies Americans are told they must hold lest they be removed from social media, shamed, ostracized and even fired from their jobs.

In no order of importance:

Men menstruate. ACLU tweet, Nov. 19, 2019: “Men who get their periods are men. Men who get pregnant and give birth are men.” If this is not a lie, the word has no meaning.

It is fair when males who identify as females compete in girls’ and women’s sports. In Connecticut, two biological men who are trans women have combined to win 15 girls state indoor or outdoor championship races since 2017. According to The Wall Street Journal, “19 state athletic conferences … allow athletes to compete based solely on their expressed gender identity.” No one with a passing acquaintance with truth could say this is fair.

To be colorblind is to be racist. This left-wing assertion is the opposite of the basic liberal ideal to end racism: to have everyone colorblind, meaning we are all to view and judge people solely as individuals irrespective of race. “Colorblind is racist” is not just a lie; it is an Orwellian lie. But it is actually normative on the left. See, for example, “Color-Blindness Is Counterproductive” (The Atlantic, Sept. 13, 2015) or the book “Colorblind Racism” by Meghan Burke, associate professor of sociology at Illinois Wesleyan University.

The Trump 2016 campaign colluded with Russia to win the election. This lie has permeated the American media for more than three years. There was never any truth to it. But those on the left — the Democratic Party and the mainstream media — found it a very useful claim, and they are doing so again in the 2020 campaign.

President Donald Trump said there were “very fine” Nazis. This is “the Charlottesville lie.” First, the media spread it, and now Joe Biden has run with it, claiming repeatedly that this was the reason he decided to run for president. Of course, what Biden said is a lie; he has wanted to run for president all his life. At Trump’s press conference on Aug. 15, 2017, right after the Charlottesville march and demonstrations, Trump made it clear he wasn’t referring to the neo-Nazis when he said there were “very fine people on both sides.” He told the press, “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists because they should be condemned totally.” He was referring to the two sides at the protest over statues. See the video “The Charlottesville Lie” by former CNN reporter Steve Cortes at PragerU.com.

Donald Trump is a dictator. This lie has been told since before Trump was elected. It is repeated by virtually every left-wing commentator and politician. See, for example, “10 Ways Trump Is Becoming a Dictator, Election Edition” by Harvard professor Stephen M. Walt (Foreign Policy, Sept. 8, 2020) or “Donald Trump Wants To Be a Dictator” by Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland (The Guardian, July 5, 2019). It is a lie. The fact is no conservative American politician is a likely dictator because one of the fundamental goals of American conservatives is to shrink the power of the government. A dictatorship in America is far more likely to come from the left, which seeks to massively increase government power. For example, as reported in Politico on Aug. 21, 2020, Biden has already pledged, “I would shut it down,” referring to the American economy and Americans’ freedom of movement to combat the COVID-19 virus.

America is a racist society. This is the greatest national lie since the medieval blood libel, in which Christians accused Jews of slaughtering Christian children to use their blood to bake matzo for Passover. America is, in fact, the least racist country in history. That’s why, for example, there are so many race hoaxes; the real thing is so hard to find. Jews didn’t need to concoct anti-Jewish hoaxes to prove there was widespread anti-Semitism in Germany in the 1930s.

Ferguson was an example of racist police brutality. The Ferguson lie is frequently cited by the left as an example of police racism, including by figures as prominent as Barack Obama. Yet, a grand jury, which included black jurors, declined to indict the white police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, a black man, because Brown had attacked the officer, sought to steal his gun and was in the process of a second attack when he was killed. The claim that Brown had said, “Hands up, don’t shoot” was also a left-wing lie. Brown never said it. See the PragerU video with Larry Elder.

America was founded in 1619, not 1776. This is the infamous New York Times lie for which the Times was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. This is the same prize awarded to the same newspaper in 1932 for its horrific lie that there was no famine in Ukraine when, in fact, Joseph Stalin was deliberately starving about 5 million Ukrainians to death. Leading liberal scholars of American history have condemned the Times’ rewriting of American history — that the American Revolution was fought in order to preserve slavery — as a lie.

These are just some of the left-wing lies increasing numbers of Americans believe. America’s survival depends on Americans — especially young Americans — recognizing them as such.


My other blogs: Main ones below

http://snorphty.blogspot.com (TONGUE-TIED)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://awesternheart.blogspot.com.au/ (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)


Thursday, October 22, 2020

Students who catch Covid may be saving lives

It is counterintuitive but the current spread of Covid may on balance be the least worst thing that could happen now. In the absence of a vaccine, and with no real prospect of eradicating the disease, the virus spreading among younger people, mostly without hitting the vulnerable, is creating immunity that will eventually slow the epidemic. The second wave is real, but it is not like the first. It would be a mistake to tackle it with compulsory lockdowns (even if called ‘circuit breakers’), whether national or local. The cure would be worse than the disease.

If you cannot extinguish an epidemic at the start, the best strategy is for the healthy to get infected first. Lockdowns ensure that the vulnerable and the healthy both get infected with similar probability. School closures, concluded a recent paper in the British Medical Journal, can paradoxically lead to more deaths by prioritising the protection of the least vulnerable.

In July the World Health Organisation said full lockdowns could be ‘the only option’ to prevent resurgence. But last week Dr David Nabarro, a WHO special envoy for Covid-19, told Andrew Neil on Spectator TV that ‘We in the WHO do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus… We really do appeal to all world leaders: stop using lockdown as your primary control method.’

Back in March when the pandemic first poleaxed the country, I argued in these pages that ‘there are no good outcomes from here. Many people will die prematurely. Many will lose their jobs. Many businesses will go under. Many people will suffer bereavement, loneliness and despair, even if they dodge the virus.’ That is still true. There is no course that involves zero suffering. It’s a question of minimising it.

This time, unlike in the spring, the virus has been mostly spreading among students. Places where more than 25 per cent of the population are university students have seven times the positive test rate of the rest of the country. Among students the infection is mostly asymptomatic or mild. As of last week, 70,000 students in the United States had tested positive with just three hospitalisations (one released) and no deaths.
By contrast, the effect of lockdowns on the mental health of young people is huge. Psychologists report that anxiety and depression have sky-rocketed, especially among the young, so that the highest mental impact is being felt among those least likely to die. It’s not Covid that is causing this, but lockdown and recession.

As Professor Karol Sikora puts it: ‘It’s clear that mass testing at universities has uncovered a huge amount of positive results that are largely behind some of the higher numbers. These are already on the way down in some areas. It’s not unreasonable to question whether this has been properly taken into account.’

Consider my home city of Newcastle. Roughly 50,000 students moved into Newcastle last month. On 3 October Northumbria University announced that there were 770 positive tests among its students, and just 78 of those showed any symptoms at all: that’s 90 per cent showing none. In the seven days up to 5 October, the Evening Chronicle reports, there were 609 positive tests (I refuse to call them cases) in the city centre, Shieldfield and Heaton Park — areas where students live. In Scotswood, a short distance away and where few students also live, there were 16.

It is the ability of this virus to be spread by those not showing symptoms, yet also sometimes to kill, that makes it so hard to control and so dangerous. Back in March the disease was spreading mostly within hospitals and care homes, among highly vulnerable people and their carers. Policy was based on the false assumption that most people would show symptoms, so carers could go from home to home without testing. That was a big mistake, as the medically trained entrepreneur Hugh Osmond kept telling me at the time: many fatal cases of Covid were caught after going into hospital for something else.

Locking down the whole country, schools, pubs, offices and all, did little to prevent that tragedy: health workers were not locked down. But it prevented the growth of natural immunity that happens to some extent with most viruses and thus probably made a second wave inevitable.

At the time I thought it was nonetheless necessary because of the dangerous nature of the virus. As I wrote here in March: ‘The government is now effectively admitting that even if drastic curfews lead to successive waves of the disease, that may be the least worst outcome. It is still a daunting prospect. Successive waves mean successive curfews and successive body blows to the economy. If we clamp down hard now and the infection rate drops, then we might be able, slowly and cautiously, to restart the economy in the summer but have to clamp down again when the virus resurges. Each time we do this, it will be more painful.’

Yet Sweden shows that the second wave could have been largely avoided. At the end of March, on the very weekend Derbyshire police tried to shame solitary hikers in the Peak District back indoors with drones and snide tweets, the Guardian described how ‘Malmo’s café terraces do a brisk trade. On the beach and surrounding parkland at Sibbarp there were picnics and barbecues this weekend; the adjoining skate park and playground were rammed.’ The New York Times called Sweden a ‘pariah state’. The Sun headline read: ‘Sweden’s refusal to enter coronavirus lockdown leaving schools and pubs open “will lead to catastrophe”, doctors warn.’

It did not. Sweden, a slightly more urbanised society than Britain, suffered almost as high a death rate in the first wave — it likewise failed to protect care homes — but is seeing almost no second wave. More to the point, its economy is in much better shape and therefore so are people’s lives. It ran a budget surplus in August and its economy is forecast to shrink 3.3 per cent this year compared with 5.8 per cent for the UK. Had we protected hospitals and care homes while keeping schools and pubs open, the chances are we too would be much better off.

Or look at London, where just 34 people died of Covid in the first week of October, compared with more than 1,000 a week in early April. There isn’t much of a second wave there, despite — or because of — demonstrations and crowded tube trains during the summer. This is probably because London’s first wave was already well advanced when lockdown started. Given widespread immune responses to the four kinds of corona-caused common colds, and the skewed pattern of viral infection, whereby a few super-spreaders cause most of the new cases, it looks increasingly as if the virus is already finding it harder to spread in the capital this time round.

The alternative to lockdown is not ‘letting the virus rip’, as Boris Johnson puts it. The Great Barrington Declaration, signed by over 20,000 doctors and medical scientists (but disgracefully censored by Google’s search engine), calls for focused protection: help the elderly and vulnerable stay at home, but let the young and invulnerable go out and achieve immunity for us all, while earning a living. The extraordinary truth is that a student catching Covid might be saving Granny’s life rather than threatening it.


Democrat Ballot Harvesting in California Backfiring

It is perfectly legal in the State of California for Democrats to send campaign workers and volunteers door-to-door to collect absentee ballots and bring them to the clerk’s office to be counted. Democrats have made an art form of ballot harvesting and credit their efforts with flipping 4 House seats in Orange County.

The individual harvesting the ballots doesn’t have to identify himself or sign his name on each ballot. Some workers have handed in hundreds of absentee ballots they collected. Republicans were at a distinct disadvantage.

But then the California GOP started their own ballot harvesting efforts. They put absentee ballot drop boxes at gun ranges, churches, and GOP offices.

This was not what the Democrats had in mind at all. They only want to make it easier for Democrats to vote. So the Democratic secretary of state and the Democratic attorney general sent cease-and-desist letters to several local GOP chairmen telling them to stop because the drop boxes weren’t “official.”

Republicans gleefully told the Democratic officials to go hang.

Wall Street Journal:

“We believe that temporarily holding [vote by mail] ballots in a locked box at a church or local Party headquarters is more secure than a Party volunteer or paid operative holding harvested ballots collected from voters at a senior center in the back seat of his or her car—though both are legal,” GOP leaders wrote.

They’re right. The GOP’s ballot depositories don’t threaten election security any more than Democrats’ door-to-door operations. Both entail voters entrusting their ballots to third parties. Why are Democratic and union canvassers more trustworthy than churches and gun shops? The GOP drop boxes also present less of a public-health risk.

Democrats can’t complain that the boxes aren’t “secure” (as if they care about how “secure” their own drop boxes are). The GOP boxes are locked and supervised just like “official” drop boxes. What’s really happening is a big dose of hypocrisy.

Republicans noted that Democratic Rep. Harley Rouda, who faces a tough re-election fight, has encouraged supporters to establish “neighborhood hubs” outside their homes to collect ballots. This didn’t stop Mr. Rouda from demanding an investigation into the GOP drop boxes and implying that Republicans may be discarding Democratic votes.

Meantime, Democrats are as usual accusing Republicans of voter suppression. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2022 re-election campaign blasted out a message declaring “the GOP is terrified of losing—so they’re willing to lie, cheat, and threaten our democracy all for the sake of gaining power.” When Democrats harvest ballots, they are increasing voter access. When Republicans do it, it’s cheating. Glad we cleared that up.

Ballot harvesting seems like a good idea on the surface but there are six ways from Sunday to commit fraud. There has to be a balance between ballot security and ease of access so that everyone who wants to can vote safely and securely. Democrats don’t want balance and don’t believe that fraud is a problem. Using ballot harvesting, it wouldn’t take much organization or intelligence to alter the outcome of an election by committing fraud.



Supreme Court will hear Trump appeal to exclude illegal immigrants from census (CNBC)

Hypocritical obstructionist Nancy Pelosi gives Trump 48-hour deadline to compromise on COVID relief (The Daily Wire)

NBC debate moderator partisan cheat took father to Obama's Christmas party and family donated thousands to Democrats including Joe Biden (Washington Examiner) | Video surfaces of moderator "tipping off" Hillary Clinton campaign on interview questions in 2016 (The Daily Wire)

Biden town hall attendees identified as ex-Obama speechwriter, wife of prominent Democrat (Fox News)

Chris Coons says his "mind is open" to packing the Supreme Court (Washington Examiner)

Biden granddaughter "couldn't agree more" that Joe will implement "agenda of the far left" (The National Pulse)

Ten counties account for 22% of COVID-19 fatalities, 11% of population (The Daily Signal)

Study: 1/3 of excess COVID-19 deaths were not due to the coronavirus (Washington Examiner)

NYPD woes mount: Patrol chief's sudden retirement part of "troubling" exodus (Fox News)

Record number of Seattle cops leave force in September (The Washington Free Beacon)

Protesters fill casket outside nursing home with thousands of copies of Andrew Cuomo's new book (Washington Examiner)

Time to pay the piper: Chicago ranks "rattiest" city for sixth year in a row (actual rats, not politicians) (Washington Examiner)

Feds withheld $4 million from 9/11 health program over NYC debts (National Review)

After a reprieve, a wave of evictions expected across U.S. (Reuters)

Midwest derecho in August was historically costly, with damage reaching $7.5B (Fox Business)

Mexico's corrupt former defense minister arrested in Los Angeles (The New York Times)

China threatens to detain Americans if U.S. prosecutes Chinese scholars (The New York Times)

Gretchen Whitmer caught with controversial sign after claiming "lock her up" is inciting "terrorism" (The Daily Wire)

Policy: Biden's economic policy will kill two million jobs (The Washington Free Beacon)

Policy: How not to respond to alarming social media censorship (Foundation for Economic Education)


My other blogs: Main ones below

http://snorphty.blogspot.com (TONGUE-TIED)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://awesternheart.blogspot.com.au/ (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

2020 US election: Big Tech pulls on censor’s jackboots for the left

The biggest, and long term the most consequential, story of the US election so far is the shocking decision by Twitter and Facebook to outright censor any story promoting the New York Post’s exclusive revelation of emails concerning Joe Biden’s son Hunter’s business dealings in Ukraine and China.

This grotesque decision by Big Tech is the most shocking breach of democratic norms the US has seen in decades. Here is a looming threat of authoritarianism in America, but it doesn’t come from Donald Trump.

Trump is not an authoritarian. At worst, he’s an administratively incompetent populist very ragged around the edges. He does not have the support of most media, doesn’t control congress, the military, the intelligence agencies, the courts, state governments. He is constrained and hemmed in on all sides. Nor is he popular.

The threat of authoritarianism from the left liberal ideological establishment, however, is strong and growing. Big Tech political censorship is both a symptom, and an accelerant, of this.

If Biden wins the presidency, and the Democrats win the Senate and hold the House of Representatives, this will concentrate power massively. And it will validate ideological coercion.

It would mean the left liberal movement, with Democrats far left of where they were under Barack Obama, will hold executive government, the legislature, the administrative state, the political sympathies of the leadership of the intelligence agencies, the chief centres of cultural power in Hollywood and most of the media, and now the massive, coercive power of Big Tech companies.

All that power would be propelled by immense self righteousness and a determination that people who seriously disagree are not just wrong but commit a crime against human decency.

A few years ago, I was one of countless commentators worldwide calling on Big Tech companies to clean up social media. By this, almost everyone meant ending expressions of violent hatred, of incitements to violence, of foul abuse, of incitements to direct ­action against individuals.

No one envisaged direct partisan censorship of mainstream political debate.

Big Tech companies have long had a cultural left liberal bias and made it difficult for conservatives to have big success on social media. But I don’t think their political convictions run very deep, as their long history of co-operation with the Communist Party government in China suggests.

However, they are expert at sniffing the wind and avoiding efforts to reform their unaccountable power. They have taken a big bet on the Biden administration, and on the left generally.

Censoring the New York Post stories is truly outrageous. The Post revealed emails that it claims came from the hard drive of a laptop that it says Hunter Biden left at a repair shop and never picked up. The Post is a mainstream newspaper, bearing all the constraints of such an institution.

It can be sued, it can suffer meaningful reputational damage, readers can turn away from it. It should not be censored.

Twitter and Facebook banned the Post from promoting its story, and then banned anyone else from linking to it, unless of course they were condemning it (this is truly Big Tech learning from the Chinese state on social media policy) on grounds that the story was perhaps unreliable, or may come from hacked documents.

This is a double standard so grotesque as to be beyond parody.

A million stories about Trump have been printed in mainstream media and promoted all over ­social media which have come from sources later discredited. The stories often turned out to be untrue. Big Tech companies had no objection to any of those.

I am not concerned with the substance of the emails here, or even in a sense with the Biden-Trump contest. But citizens who value democracy in any Western society should object in the strongest way to Big Tech deciding it can censor politics and interfere to promote the fashionable ideological view and exclude the side of politics it doesn’t like.

Nothing is more likely to destroy faith in democracy and create eventually a huge anti-democratic backlash. This is the real outrage of 2020.


Sick Britons avoid hospitals, driving up deaths at home during the pandemic

London: People are dying at home from cancer, heart disease, dementia and other illnesses in unusually high numbers as the sick avoid hospitals and nursing homes despite assurances the health system has capacity to care for them.

New figures reveal some 116,282 people died in their own homes in England and Wales between January and early September - about 27,000 more than the five-year average.

However, COVID-19 accounted for just 2490 of those 27,000 "excess" deaths.

There was a significant spike in excess deaths in hospitals, care homes and private homes while the pandemic raged in March, April and May. In the months since, excess deaths in hospitals and nursing homes have actually fallen below the five-year average but fatalities at home have remained at levels well above normal.

Deaths in private homes for men suffering heart diseases are up 25.9 per cent in England while heart-related deaths in hospitals decreased by 22.4 per cent. There has also been a 53.5 per cent increase in deaths at home from prostate cancer.

Deaths from dementia and Alzheimer's disease among women are 75.0 per cent above average in private homes in England but 40.6 per cent lower in hospitals.

The National Health Service was not overwhelmed during the first outbreak but there was a waiting time blowout for cancer treatment and other services such as elective surgery. The system has had plenty of capacity over summer and still does despite the UK's worsening second wave.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Monday warned the virus was again "on the offensive" in the United Kingdom and deaths were now doubling every 12 days.

"The best way to protect cancer treatment and all the other treatments in the NHS is to keep the prevalence of coronavirus down," he said. "We are doing everything in our power to suppress the virus, support the economy, support education and the NHS until a vaccine is available. That is the right strategy: charting a path that allows for the greatest economic and social freedom while protecting life."

The excess death data was released by the Office for National Statistics as Wales announced a strict-two week lockdown in a bid to curb a second wave of infections.

While Prime Minister Boris Johnson has responsibility for England's strategy, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland run their own health and education systems.

Restaurants, bars, cafes, non-essential shops, libraries and tourism attractions will close for a fortnight under a "fire break" strategy outlined by Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford.

Primary schools will stay open but students above year eight in secondary schools will have to stay home from this Friday.

"This fire break is the shortest we can make it, but that means that it will have to be sharp and deep in order to have the impact we need it to have on the virus," Drakeford said.

The Wales strategy is among the strictest to be introduced in Europe during its second wave.

Ireland has also announced tough COVID-19 constraints, going to a "level five" lockdown and shutting non-essential retail, limiting restaurants and pubs to take away service and telling people not to travel more than five kilometres from their home.

Johnson has previously cited the need for people to continue their usual medical and hospital appointments as a reason for not ordering a new lockdown in England.

Doctors believe the government's pledge to 'protect the NHS' during Britain's first wave blocked or discouraged people from accessing life-saving diagnoses and treatments in public hospitals.

There are also concerns that major outbreaks in care homes earlier this year have caused families to keep their elderly relatives out of those homes for as long as the pandemic continues.

The ONS figures suggest people were reluctant to use these facilities even when the daily number of infections plummeted over summer. In July - when the spread of the virus was at its lowest in Britain - some 10,936 people died at home in England compared to the five-year average of 8358. Just 102 of those people died from COVID-19.

People aged 70 to 89 accounted for nearly 60 per cent of the overall excess deaths in England and Wales


Soros-Funded Prosecutors Put ‘Social Justice’ Above Law and Order, Analysts Say

Self-styled progressive political activists who win election as district attorneys with financial support from wealthy donors have made “social justice” initiatives more important than public safety, legal analysts say.

George Soros, the Hungarian American billionaire investor, stands out as the big donor behind a super PAC that helped elect district attorneys who have overseen a dramatic increase in crime.

The Justice and Public Safety super PAC feeds into a larger network of local political action committees. Some of the district attorneys elected with its support have attracted media attention for their antipathy toward law enforcement.

“I refuse to call them progressives,” Charles “Cully” Stimson, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, said in an interview with The Daily Signal, adding: “There’s nothing progressive about what they’re doing.”

In July, Fox News reported on St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, who benefited during her 2016 campaign from advertising funded through Justice and Public Safety in her 2016 campaign.

Conservatives criticized Gardner for announcing her intention to pursue felony charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the couple who stood outside their St. Louis home with firearms in June as Black Lives Matter demonstrators marched past after breaking through a gate.

A grand jury indicted the McCloskeys on weapons and evidence-tampering charges Oct. 6, USA Today and other outlets reported.

Gardner, a Democrat who previously was a member of the Missouri House of Representatives, assumed office as circuit attorney in January 2017. She reportedly benefited from more than $190,000 in contributions from the Missouri Justice and Public Safety PAC.

The Daily Signal left a voicemail seeking comment from Gardner’s office, but had not received a response by publication time.

‘Huge Contributions’
The Soros-backed effort to alter America’s established criminal justice system by investing in local district attorneys appears to have been in motion for at least five years, according to Capital Research Center, a Washington-based group that traces how foundations and charities spend their money.

Over those years, Soros has spent more than $17 million on district attorney races, among other local races, in states such as Pennsylvania, Virginia, Arizona, California, and New York.

As The Daily Signal previously reported, Soros has helped to elect progressive prosecutors not only in major metropolitan areas, but also in the suburbs.

In contrast to conventional political action committees, Justice and Public Safety and other super PACs may absorb unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations, and individuals such as Soros and then spend the money to advocate or oppose political candidates. Unlike conventional political action committees, super PACs are not allowed to make direct donations to candidates.

But as Shane Devine, an investigator with Capital Research Center, explains in a recent article, the “huge contributions” put into circulation by Soros through his PAC “makes it almost impossible for other candidates to compete because district attorney elections are on such a small scale.”

And, Devine wrote, the campaigns that get such PAC money typically “do not need to raise millions to run local ads and mobilize voters.”

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, a Democrat, benefited from about $1.7 million spent by the Soros-backed Philadelphia Justice and Public Safety PAC during the 2017 campaign.

Since Krasner took office in January 2018, aggravated assault with a firearm increased by 18%, and, in one year, violent crime overall rose 5% and robberies climbed by 7%, according to a report in June from the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, a nonprofit based in Alexandria, Virginia.

The Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund compiled figures for its report, titled “Prosecutorial Malpractice: Progressive Prosecutors, Public Safety, and Felony Outcomes,” that the organization says show “dozens of experienced frontline prosecutors have been fired or resigned under Krasner’s watch.”

What is the result of Krasner’s follow-through on his campaign commitments to alter criminal justice practices?

“Violent crime in Philadelphia is out of control,” Jason Johnson, president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, told The Daily Signal


My other blogs: Main ones below

http://snorphty.blogspot.com (TONGUE-TIED)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://awesternheart.blogspot.com.au/ (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

UK: A lockdown on dissent

The attempt to shut down debate on Covid infantilises the public.

It’s not just pubs, restaurants and gyms that are being shut down in response to an increasing number of people testing positive for coronavirus. Debate is being curtailed, too. When the government’s chief scientific adviser and chief medical officer held a press conference last month to show off graphs with exponentially rising red lines, they left without taking a single question. Science had spoken: there was nothing more to discuss.

Yet, from the time news first broke of the Covid-19 pandemic, the science has been anything but settled. There have been protracted public disputes about the role of children in spreading the virus, the efficacy of face masks, the benefits of ventilators, how long people have immunity post-infection, and even the nature of coronavirus symptoms. There is still no real consensus on how best to respond to this new threat.

Back in April and May, despite knowing that much of the science was uncertain, the overwhelming majority of people kept to the strict lockdown rules. But now, as some parts of the UK face a return to full lockdown, it seems government ministers and their advisers, as well as many journalists, have decided that the public can no longer be trusted with uncertainty and we must be protected from any disputes over ‘the science’.

Last month, following the Whitty and Vallance fear-fest, a group of 32 scientists – led by Sunetra Gupta and Carl Heneghan from Oxford University and Professor Karol Sikora, former chief of the World Health Organisation’s cancer programme – penned an open letter calling on the government to reconsider its approach to suppressing the virus. They warned that lockdowns led to ‘significant harm across all age groups’ and asked the government to focus instead on more targeted measures. In response, they were accused of ‘spoiling for a fight with the establishment’. Sections of the media were criticised for giving their views a platform and for having ‘a tendency to amplify minority positions, particularly if they appear to confirm the right-libertarian worldview’. Challenging the apparent consensus was a ‘dangerous distraction’, which would do ‘damage to public discourse’.

In other words, talk of disagreement may lead people to question and challenge the restrictions they are asked to endure – and that cannot be permitted. So now, with the publication of the Great Barrington Declaration, written and signed by infectious-disease epidemiologists and public-health scientists who are concerned about the physical and mental-health effects of lockdown, the gloves are off.

Of course, anti-lockdown scientists should be subjected to the same rigorous criticism as pro-lockdown scientists. But this is not what is happening. As Fraser Myers has pointed out on spiked, the Great Barrington Declaration has prompted a barrage of censorship and smears. It has been ‘signed by fake experts!’, shrieks the Guardian, which finds much hilarity in ‘Dr Johnny Bananas’ and ‘Prof Cominic Dummings’. Another yawn-inducing piece points out that the think-tank backing the declaration, the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), is ‘part-funded by right-wing American billionaire Charles Koch’. The Observer, meanwhile, points to the AIER’s libertarian leanings, complaining that science has been ‘co-opted by shady ideological interests’. This is not advancing a scientific critique – it is simply an attempt to discredit by association. The aim is to present any dissent from lockdown as coming from a ‘fringe group of scientists’ who are out of sync with ‘most of the public-health experts in the world’.

We have been here before. Prior to coronavirus dominating every headline, we were told that the ‘scientific consensus that humans are causing global warming is likely to have passed 99 per cent’. Questioning this ‘consensus’ was – and still is – heresy. When it came to Brexit, if you challenged the experts you found yourself labelled mad, thick and low-information. The exact same urge to label Brexiteers as stupid plays out four years later in the bid to discredit the Great Barrington Declaration. All the same assumptions are there. The little people can’t be trusted with ambiguity and uncertainty. They need stark and simplistic messages. They need to be told not to kill their granny. Any hint of dissent must be removed from public discourse or the idiots will ‘let the virus rip’.

There are real problems with this approach to public debate. Scientific progress, like all knowledge, advances through challenge. Besmirching the reputations of those who don’t fall into line, or implying they have spurious motivations, chills debate. Important questions will go unasked. And rather than promoting trust in experts, squashing dissent in favour of one consistent message has exactly the opposite effect: it promotes conspiratorial thinking. For a time over the weekend, the Great Barrington Declaration was removed from the first pages of Google in a number of countries. This plays into people’s fears that facts are being withheld and they are being manipulated. Yet when a safe vaccine against Covid-19 is developed, people will be expected to trust scientists.

Not even the most watertight scientific conclusions can tell us how to deal with coronavirus. Our response is shaped by a host of ethical, economic and political considerations. The people whose lives are impacted most by lockdown restrictions need to be allowed to participate in these debates. This means trusting us all to cope with ambiguity and scientific uncertainty.


Conservatives Must Fight Big Tech or Lose

Facebook and Twitter’s desperate attempts to block a damaging story about Joe and Hunter Biden is the culmination of four years of work to transform social media into the media. Under the guise of false claims about disinformation, foreign election interference, bots, networks, deepfakes, public health risks, and assorted tech paranoia, free speech died on the internet.

The moment when the White House Press Secretary had her account locked for tweeting a damaging news story about Joe Biden brought home the Big Tech reality to most Republicans.

Just like the media, Big Tech is the Democrat Party, and the Democrat Party is Big Tech. But, unlike the media, Big Tech controls the marketplace of ideas to an unprecedented degree.

Facebook controls 80% of social media and Google controls 80% of internet search traffic.

And that’s bad news because Democrats see the internet in the same terms as Xi, Putin, or your average dictator just about anywhere in the world, as a dangerous system spouting disinformation, damaging social ideas, and disruptive political rhetoric that must be controlled using a combination of economic and social pressures, along with government regulation.

Republicans and Democrats are both unhappy with the internet. Republicans are upset because there’s too much censorship and Democrats are upset because there isn’t enough censorship.

That Democrats, who once championed a free internet, now view it the same way all totalitarians do, speaks volumes not only about the death of liberalism but also about the transformation of the internet from a vox populi to a walled garden controlled by a handful of Big Tech monopolies whose cultural views and politics closely align with those of the Democrats.

‘Bigness’ has its own political and economic gravity. Big cities are more likely to have big governments and their inhabitants are more likely to vote for big government policies. They’re also more likely to use and generate the core companies and cultures that make up Big Tech.

The old political alignments based on questions of philosophy are being tossed aside and replaced with a new alignment based on the primevally simple questions of size and power.

The struggle is less defined by abstractions, than by the question of how much power you have.

In the Trump era, the more proximity to power you have, the more likely you are to be a Democrat, and the less proximity to power you have, the more likely you are to be a Republican.

The most striking thing about the Never Trumpers and the Rust Belt and Southern Democrats voting for Trump is how much power the former have and how little power the latter do.

Politics is being reduced to naked power.

Democrats shifted their stance on the internet because they gained control of core national institutions, in no small part through the growing fortunes pouring out of Silicon Valley which have tilted elections, financed political movements, and transformed public perspectives on social issues. And they are using their newfound power to do what the powerful always do, dismantle the safeguards of an open society so that there are no more threats to their power.

They’re doing this under the guise of fighting for equality and justice, and of waging a revolution for the oppressed, but so did most modern tyrants from Stalin to Hitler to Mao.

The Democrats are no longer interested in a free internet, for the same reason that they’ve tossed away free speech, the filibuster, or any institution or procedure that isn’t serving their interests this very minute. This isn’t due to a new progressive enlightenment, Republican obstinacy, grave new threats to democracy, or any of the other talking points they serve up.

The simple answer is that they won.

The Democrats of the 90s who welcomed an open internet were waging an uphill struggle against the open institutions of a generally conservative country. The country is now much less conservative, the institutions are much less open, and every major institutional force, from the biggest companies to the media, is unreservedly and uncritically backing them every step of the way, while suppressing any suggestion that they shouldn’t rule unopposed for all eternity.

All that’s left is collecting their winnings by shutting down the opposition.

Support for free speech is a matter of principle and practical politics. America was built on principle, but the Founding Fathers had a common-sense assessment of human nature. Free societies may be built on principles, but they survive through a balance of power. Every major faction must go on believing that it is in its interest to maintain free speech, checks and balances, and other protections against tyranny because it might end up needing them.

The Democrats have accumulated enough power that they no longer think that they need firewalls because if they play their cards right, the future, the right side of history, is their own.

That’s the fundamental development that explains the current crisis, not only of free speech, but of free elections, and a free country. The internet, like any society’s marketplace of ideas, is a symptom. Free countries have a robust marketplace of ideas. Unfree ones are obsessed with censoring speech and monitoring their citizens, all the while spinning paranoid fantasies about foreign interference, the threat of dangerous ideas, and the risk to political stability from speech.

Anyone who came out of a coma and spent an afternoon listening to CNN (owned by AT&T), reading the Washington Post (owned by the CEO of Amazon), and perusing the latest round of Democrat complaints about election interference and disinformation would know what we are.

The problem isn’t simply radicalism. It’s power.

Democrat radicalism isn’t being driven by the powerless, but by the powerful. That’s why Democrats with PhDs are more radical than those with a high school diploma. The problem of Big Tech can’t be separated from the problem of a political movement with too much power.

The culture of political censorship isn’t merely radical, it’s powerful. Cancel culture by college students or Big Tech censorship aren’t disparate phenomena, they’re the same phenomenon, often practiced on the same platforms by members of the same inbred ruling class.

America has been reconstructed to favor some classes at the expense of others. This new machine combining political institutions, activist groups, and corporations controls public life.

Conservatives can combat it or, like Soviet citizens, make jokes, and wait for it to collapse.

Big Tech is at the nexus of the political, economic, and cultural power of this new machine. That’s why breaking its power must be the objective of any winning conservative movement.

The massive monopolies control political discourse and as they tighten the noose around conservatives, political speech on the internet will consist of media narratives, a few tame conservatives, and little else. Imagine the high point of media dominance with no talk radio or cable conservative news. That’s the future. And it’s not going to arrive a year from now, it may already be here by Election Day. And if not, certainly when the next presidential election arrives.

But Big Tech also holds the key to the radical money machine. AOC and the Squad wouldn’t exist without a founding engineer from Stripe. The founder of eBay is responsible for everything from The Intercept to The Bulwark, the former is the media arm of the Sanders campaign and the latter of the Never Trumpers. The Washington Post was transformed from a fussy government paper into a den of furious radicals by the CEO of Amazon. Google money financed the Bernie Sanders campaign. Big Tech has poured a massive fortune into Black Lives Matter, from Steve Jobs’ widow, to Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife, to Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter.

And that’s the tip of the iceberg considering Facebook’s Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative.

The cultural power of Big Tech is even vaster. Google and Facebook determine what most people see on the internet. Amazon and Netflix are swallowing the entertainment industry. In a decade, a handful of vast, mostly, tech companies, Apple, Amazon, AT&T, Disney, Google, Netflix, and Verizon will control the culture far more than the old entertainment industry ever did.

By then it will be much too late to do anything except huddle in a few dark web outposts and mutter hate speech like the controversial words of the First Amendment.

If conservatives don’t fight Big Tech now, they will lose. And they will lose everything.

Big Tech’s power is growing exponentially, but it’s still vulnerable. The companies that will become immovable oligarchies in a decade can still be brought down and broken up. The internet and the marketplace of ideas can rise again from the ruins of those monopolies.

Now is the time. If we don’t fight Big Tech now, America has no future.


My other blogs: Main ones below

http://snorphty.blogspot.com (TONGUE-TIED)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://awesternheart.blogspot.com.au/ (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)